Flashback to the opening of last season, started with a bang. Scoring within the first four minutes of his Premier League debut versus West Albion, the reminder of his immense potential is evident for all to see. Following this smashing introduction to English football, once again showcases his talent. His next few goals for the season are, among others, against some of the biggest sides in the Premiership in Manchester United and . He finishes his first season with his reputation barely in tatters: a respectable seven goals and five assists. Compare this statistic with paltry three goals and zero assists tally at the end of his first season, and it is easy to presume that—at this point— is on his way to Arsenal .
Jump to the 2009-2010 season: add a couple serious and niggling injuries, including the likes of a broken leg, and the forecast for has changed. Despite being something of a force during this season, the Magician's influence is only waning. And despite all his rumored creativity, his statistical tally doesn't twist the truth. The statistics don't lie. While only playing ten less games than he did in the 2008-2009 season at 34, retains about the same number of assists and goals: five each. Suffice to say, the "Next " isn't setting the domestic or Champions League on fire.
Flash forward to 2010-2011 season and there's a different feeling about . Following a sublime dribbling effort and goal in the preceding season against Porto in the Champions League, he is back in the spotlight. Rest accumulated from missing the World Cup has risen the game of the agile and stylish attacking midfielder. A great preseason shows that is back to his best—then reality sets in. Against the likes of Liverpool, he shines but is unable to turn the tide of the game. The reason is frighteningly clear: for all pretty play, he isn't effective. No matter how great his first touch, the final ball not only isn't there, but half the time the scary part is that it isn't even being attempted.
To tell the honest truth, has adopted well. He has learned the Arsenal way of playing: slow, pretty, and often frustrating. No cutting passes in the silky fashion of Arsenal superstar captain ; no spraying passes around in the cultured manner Manchester United legend Paul ; is beginning to look ironically like a certain Arsenal predecessor. Just a quick shimmy here, a show of skill there, a short pass here and there; the verdict (and the comparison) is evident for all to see: style but no substance.
The question needs to be asked: is still adapting to the Premier League or is this the limit of his contribution? Is he another case like the always improving or phantom wizard like Alexander ? Only time will tell, but doubtlessly The Magician from has time to turn the tables and prove he is as spectacular as they say.